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China’s Xi Jinping urges greater self-reliance amid trade, military tensions with US

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture shows China's President Xi Jinping addressing National People’s Congress delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Photo by Reuters)

Chinese president has called for speeding up science and technology development to ensure greater self-reliance and strengthening the country's military amid rising tensions with the US.

Addressing the 14th National People's Congress, the national legislature of China, Xi Jinping said Beijing should apply the new development philosophy on all fronts and accelerate efforts to create a new pattern of development, as reported by state-run Xinhua news agency.

He called for fully implementing the strategy for invigorating China through science and education, the workforce development strategy and the innovation-driven development strategy, the agency said.

“To open up new areas and new arenas in development and foster new growth drivers and new strengths in face of fierce international competition, China should ultimately rely on scientific and technological innovation,” Xi said, according to a media readout.

'Great Wall of Steel'

'After thanking nearly 3,000 delegates for his unopposed re-election as president, the longest-serving Chinese president pledged to “build the military into a great wall of steel that effectively safeguards national sovereignty, security and our development interests”.

He also vowed to pursue “development and security”, stressing that “safety is the foundation of development, and stability is the prerequisite for prosperity”.

Xi called for “reasonable” economic growth with a focus on improving the quality of that expansion, calling on officials to accelerate the building of a new growth framework that prioritizes boosting domestic demand, driving innovation and self-reliance in science and technology, upgrading the industrial sector and promoting low-carbon development.

“We should firmly push forward high-quality development,” Xi said. “We should strive for the effective improvement in the quality of the economy and the reasonable growth in its quantity.”

On developments in the self-ruled Chinese Taipei, Xi said he would work to resolve the issue, but warned to “resolutely oppose external interference and Taiwan independence separatist activities”.

“With the founding of the Communist Party of China . . . and after a century of struggle, our national humiliation has been erased, and the Chinese people have become the masters of their own destiny,” Xi told delegates. “The Chinese nation’s great revival is on an irreversible path.”

The 69-year-old Chinese leader was also elected by the NPC as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), which makes him the commander of the two-million-strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Xi took an oath over a copy of the Chinese constitution, vowing to “build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and great modern socialist country”.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Chinese premier Li Qiang his first press conference on Monday said China and the US were closely intertwined economically to the benefit of both sides, striking a conciliatory tone.

“Some have been trumpeting the idea of decoupling with China . . . but I wonder how many people can truly benefit from this hype,” Li said. “Encirclement and suppression are in no one’s interest.”

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